The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 11, 2009 Major News Stories

Gov't urged to take over oil companies

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Tuesday proposed a government takeover of oil companies amid threat of a possible oil shortage because of the government's imposition of oil price control.

Oil firms' threats hostage govt—solons

Lawmakers on Tuesday chastised oil companies for "hostaging" the government when they raised the threat of dwindling oil supply to pressure Malacanang to lift the imposed ceiling on prices of oil in Luzon.

Clamor arise for inspection of oil depots

May nagrerekomenda na inspeksyunin na ang mga oil depot para malaman ang dami ng stock ng mga oil companies.

Fuel supply shortage felt in Lucena City, Batangas

Some gasoline stations in Lucena City have started rationing to customers due to a shortage of supply allegedly brought about by the price freeze clamped by the government on petroleum products in Luzon.  

Arroyo mulls lifting state of calamity, oil price cap

Amid warnings that oil supply in the country could run out in two weeks, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday ordered the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to determine whether Luzon should still be placed under a state of calamity, the primary basis for her declaration of an oil price ceiling.

IEA sees oil price at $100 in 2020

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast on Tuesday that the oil price, excluding inflation, would be $100 a barrel in 2020 and $115 in 2030, saying oil demand would increase by one percent per year.

Major businesses urged to join deloading scheme

Amid the recurring problem of power shortage in the province, the Provincial Board is calling on major business establishments in Cebu to take part in the Interruptible Load Agreement – a deloading program proposed earlier by the Visayan Electric Company. 

3,000 Filipinos in jail overseas—DFA

Some 3,000 Filipinos are in jail in different countries around the world, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

About 70 percent of the detainees have been facing immigration-related charges and would be "deported after serving their brief sentences," said DFA spokesman Ed Malaya on Tuesday.

"The rest are in custody for committing common crimes, including theft and drug trafficking," Malaya also said.

In the Middle East alone, 62 overseas Filipino workers are detained on drug-related charges. Of that number, 43, mostly women, are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


GSK gives 50M swine flu jabs to developing world

A British pharmaceutical giant said on Tuesday it will donate 50 million doses of its swine flu vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for distribution to developing countries.

Fire razes 30 houses in Lahug; toll: P2.2M

A CANDLE left unattended was believed to have sparked the fire last night along Gorordo Ave. in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, which destroyed an estimated P2.2 million in properties.

Tom says he'll file this week: City Hall readies case vs. Capitol

Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña yesterday announced that City Hall lawyers have already completed the preparation of the necessary documents to support the filing of an injunction case against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other Capitol officials to prevent them from evicting the urban poor families occupying province-owned lots.

City may have to evict settlers in private lot

Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday said the city may be forced to evict the urban poor families occupying the 2,856-square meter lot owned by the Ortega family in barangay Hipodromo unless they can pay the price of the lot amounting to P31.4 million.

Cuenco named ambassador to Italy

Cebu City south district Rep. Antonio Cuenco was appointed by President Gloria Arroyo as the country's ambassador to Italy during her visit to Cebu yesterday.

Davide ready to face Gwen in 2010

Former city councilor Hilario Davide III said yesterday he is ready to face Governor Gwendolyn Garcia should the Liberal Party appoint him as its candidate for the gubernatorial post.

Slay of mayor's bodyguard: CPPO optimistic in solving crime

The police are now on the process of coming up with the cartographic sketch of the assailants who shot dead the close in bodyguard Carmen town mayor Sonia Pua last Monday afternoon.

8 men behind Carmen shooting

IF witnesses are to be believed, there were at least eight persons behind the death of retired policeman Nonito Taoy.

Court dismisses petition for hospital to release newborn

The Regional Trial Court dismissed the Petition for Habeas Corpus filed by the mother of a baby who was allegedly refused to be released from the Cebu Doctors University Hospital owing to unbilled charges amounting to over half a million.

RTC Branch 20 Judge Bienvenido Saniel ordered the dismissal of the case after the lawyer of CDUhospital informed the court that the child of petitioner Maria Lourdes Farro has been discharged.

Saniel said the court no longer needs to issue a Writ of Habeas Corpus since Farro has claimed back her child.

The court, however, ordered Farro to appear before the management of CDU hospital with her lawyer to sign a promissory note to guarantee that she would pay the P503,000 they owe the establishment.

The amount covers for the hospital services provided to the baby since its delivery last July 22. The child was born prematurely, thus, had to be placed in an incubator and the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit for further treatment.

Senate body calls for Arroyo impeachment over ZTE

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday sought the impeachment of President Macapagal-Arroyo and prosecution of 10 others, including First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, in connection with the botched $329 million national broadband network deal with ZTE Corp. of China.

"The President has lots to answer for," said Sen. Richard Gordon at a press conference in the Senate, reading from a 127-committee report circulated for signing by senators during Tuesday's session.

Gordon said Ms Arroyo did not stop the contract even after she was informed of the bribery.

"The Ombudsman is wrong in merely dismissing the case against the President on the mere pretext of a presidential immunity from suit. The Ombudsman must make a finding and forward it to the House of Representatives," said Gordon.

Besides the First Couple, the committee also sought the prosecution for graft in the Sandiganbayan of the following individuals earlier linked to the scandal: Former Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia and son businessman Joel de Venecia III, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite, Transportation Assistant Secretaries Elmer Soneja and Lorenzo Formoso, Rodolfo Noel Lozada, former National Economic Development Authority Romulo Neri and Environment Secretary Lito Atienza.

The Senate blue ribbon committee released the report more than two years after its investigation into the controversial deal.

"It is not for the Ombudsman to make a ruling as to immunity but for the House to decide what to do once it receives the transmittal. Neither was it for the Ombudsman to say that there is no more impeachment process to be had because of the one-year bar,' the report said.

"The President has lots to answer for. Unfortunately, makikita nyo yung litany of errors ng President (you can see the litany of errors of the President). Apparently, she wasn't able to crack the whip on her people. Obviously, there were people who were lobbying to get a slice of the action from this deal," Gordon said.

Gordon said the President was unable to control her own men as they fought over kickbacks

"She kept her silence in the midst of the corruption--acquiescing and condoning the deed. The facts pointing to her may not be total but the stink is perceived to have reached her office," he said in a separate statement.

Lozada questions result of Senate probe

Naiyak nga si ZTE star witness Jun Lozada nang makita ang report ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Nagmukha daw siya ang inimbestigahan. Ang inaangal ni Lozada, mababaw daw ang akusasyon laban sa Pangulo at sa First Gentleman.

Arroyo administration flunks corruption test anew

by by Rodney J. Jaleco, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
WASHINGTON D.C. -The Arroyo administration flunked anew the Millennium Challenge Corporation's corruption test, perhaps adding a possible talking point when President Arroyo meets US State Secretary Hillary Clinton later this week.

'Corrupt' RP unlikely to get additional fund from US

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) – The Philippines is not likely to get an additional $500-million poverty reduction funding from a United States government aid agency after it failed anew in Washington's latest corruption index.

RP better at controlling corruption—DFA chief

(UPDATE 2) The Philippines has become better at controlling corruption, and in promoting political and civil rights, as well as public accountability, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said Tuesday, citing the Control of Corruption indicator, which showed an improved ranking from 39 down to 33.

Ebdane denies hand in road tax fiasco

Former Public Works secretary Hermogenes Ebdane said there was no truth to the allegation of Senator Miriam Santiago that there was anomaly in the P60.5 billion road user's tax.

Palace supports charges vs Ebdane, Puno over road tax mess

Malacañang on Tuesday expressed support to Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's recommendation to file plunder charges official involved in the alleged misuse of P60.5 billion road users' tax.

House probe uncovers alleged extortion by Palace group

A public hearing by the House committee on good government has uncovered an alleged multimillion extortion racket by operatives of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) preying on importers.

Poll preparations behind by a month - Comelec

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is lagging behind in its preparations for the May 2010 elections by a month from its original timeline, an official said on Tuesday.

Melo: No more stressed-out teachers in polls

by by Jesus F. Llanto, Newsbreak
Comelec says number of election inspectors to be reduced by half MANILA - Amid calls by a group to relieve public school teachers of the mandatory duties to serve at polling precincts, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is confident that the teachers would "welcome the duty" in 2010 because automation will make their work much easier than before.

Comelec needs 50,000 IT workers

At least 50,000 information technology personnel are needed for next year's automated national elections, a Commission on Elections official said Wednesday.

Erap tests poll automation machines

Sinubukan naman ng partido ni dating presidente Joseph Estrada ang mga sample na makina para sa automation ng halalan sa 2010. At base sa kanyang nakita, mukha raw mahihirapan ang mga mandaraya.

Comelec: Special listup in Sulu possible

by By Jesus F. Llanto, Newsbreak
Melo asks military and local poll officials to confirm reported disenfranchisement of voters The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday indicated that it may hold special voters' registration in the province of Sulu, as proposed by former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Nur Misuari who is also running for Sulu governor next year.

Lakas gives up on Legarda as vice presidential bet--Pichay

The administration party has given up efforts to recruit Sen. Loren Legarda, and its search for a viable vice-presidential candidate who can help shore up the presidential candidacy of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro is virtually back to zero.

Senator Aquino launches 'Vlog'

After joining the popular networking sites "Facebook" and "Friendster," now comes a video log or "Vlog" for Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to further boost his presidential bid next year.

Noynoy: I've got more Facebook friends than Chiz

MANILA - How popular is Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in the online community? According to online portal, Aquino has double the number of online friends in his Facebook and Friendster accounts compared to presidential candidates Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Manny Villar.

Arroyo holds Cabinet meeting in Bohol

President Macapagal-Arroyo's visit here gave prominence to the oath-taking of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap who was sworn in as a member of Lakas-Kampi-CMD Tuesday.

Mancao planning to run for Congress

MANILA - Former police superintendent Cezar Mancao has confirmed that he plans to run for representative of the 1st district of Compostela Valley province in May 2010.

Clinton urged to query Philippine human rights

A human rights watchdog on Tuesday urged US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to press President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to prosecute soldiers allegedly responsible for political killings.

Police step up security for Clinton visit

Metro Manila policemen are set to double their efforts in providing security for the official visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday, National Capital chief Director Roberto Rosales said Tuesday.

No threat to Clinton visit--police

The Philippine National Police (PNP) sees no threat in the upcoming visit of US State Secretary Hillary Clinton on Thursday, despite the recent twin bombings that occurred in the country's capital.

"Hillary Clinton likely to visit RP typhoon victims"

While she will have just 24 hours in Manila, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will likely try to squeeze in a visit to typhoon victims in her packed schedule, the US ambassador to the Philippines said Tuesday.

Abu Sayyaf eyed in abduction of four in Basilan

(UPDATE 2) Gunmen in camouflage stormed a plywood factory and abducted four workers in Basilan province Tuesday, a day after suspected Muslim extremists beheaded a kidnapped schoolteacher, officials said.

Misuari condemns beheading of school principal in Sulu

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari condemned Tuesday the beheading of an elementary school principal in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, saying the perpetrators violated the Islamic way of living.

Beheading prompts DepEd to suspend classes in Sulu

MANILA – School officials in Sulu have decided to temporarily suspend the classes of more than 50,000 school children following the beheading on Monday of an abducted elementary school principal in the province.

MILF sends 3,000 men to find kidnapped Irish priest

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) redeployed its forces Tuesday to continue its search for abducted Irish missionary, Father Michael Sinnott.

Puno willing to eat words for Fr. Sinnott

by by Queenie Casimiro, ABS CBN News Zamboanga
 MANILA - Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno is now willing to give way to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to see if the group is really sincere in its desire to help secure the release of Fr. Michael Sinnott.

Church leaders ask GMA to ban aerial spraying, stop Laiban dam

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and bishops in Metro Manila have asked President Macapagal-Arroyo to issue an executive order to permanently ban the aerial spraying of pesticides in banana plantations in Mindanao since the practice has indiscriminately caused harm to residents.

Two Koreas in naval clash off west coast—official

SEOUL, South Korea — (UPDATE) North and South Korea were involved in a naval clash Tuesday off the peninsula's west coast, military officials said, reportedly leaving a North Korean patrol boat badly damaged.

Tension mounts as Thaksin enters Cambodia

Ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Cambodia to start work as a government economic adviser Tuesday, fuelling tensions between the two countries after a series of border clashes.

Bomb attack kills 25 in Pakistan

(UPDATE 2) A suicide car bomb ripped through a packed shopping street in a small Pakistan market town on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and leaving 40 others wounded in the third militant attack in northwest in as many days.

India landslides, flash floods kill 41—police

CHENNAI—Heavy rain in southern India triggered flash floods and landslides that killed 41 people in the last 24 hours, police said Tuesday.

Floods, landslides kill 130 in El Salvador

VERAPAZ -- Floods and landslides had killed at least 130 people in El Salvador and forced 10,000 from their homes Monday after a late-season hurricane devastated swaths of mountainous Central America.

Roach: 'Perfect fight' will win it for Manny

LAS VEGAS - Time to take it easy before the big night. With Manny Pacquiao just a few practice days from being in perfect form, trainer Freddie Roach on Monday closed camp at Wild Card gym knowing his ward doesn't need to do any heavy lifting in training as he prepares for the Nov. 14 bout against Miguel Cotto.

Tyson, Hopkins predict Pacman KO win

Fighters past and present, Hollywood celebrities and writers are picking Manny Pacquiao to score a big victory over Miguel Cotto, a poll by showed on Monday.

Cotto, Pacquiao address weight issues

MANILA – Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto assured that they will be at their best state come fight night as they aim to make the catch weight of 145 lbs.

Hot in Vegas: Pacquiao a big 3-1 favorite vs Cotto

LAS VEGAS - The figures say it all. Manny Pacquiao is now installed a big 3-1 favorite to beat Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto and win the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here (Sunday in Manila).

Pacquiao, the Bruce Lee of boxing

(UPDATE) Fighters past and present, Hollywood celebrities and writers are picking Manny Pacquiao to score a big victory over Miguel Cotto, a poll by showed on Monday.

Be sensitive, lawmakers going to see Pacquiao in Vegas told

As Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao aims yet for another ring victory this weekend, several lawmakers called on their colleagues to be sensitive by just watching the fight at home instead of going to Las Vegas as many Filipinos are still reeling from the effects of disasters that recently hit the country.

PSC pursues case on Philsoc liquidation

MANILA -- The Philippine Sports Commission will file on Wednesday a case against Philippine Olympic Committee president and 2005 Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee chair Jose Cojuangco Jr. for his alleged failure to liquidate the P73,243,524.86 funds spent in the staging og the 2005 Manila SEAG.

LeBron wants max money and a title contender

Winning comes first for LeBron James. Money ranks a close second. But the NBA club that expects the superstar to play for it next season had better be prepared to offer both.

NBA legend Abdul-Jabbar goes public with cancer fight

WASHINGTON -- US basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has gone public with his fight against a rare form of leukemia, urging regular doctor visits and improved health care for the poor.

Agassi should return titles, prize money – Safin

PARIS - Russian tennis star Marat Safin has criticized Andre Agassi for the American's recent admission that he took drugs in the 1990s and encouraged him to hand back his titles and prize money.

12 electric jeepneys hit the road in Makati City

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The first 12 electric jeepneys (e-Jeep) rolled off the charging station at Makati Fire Department on Tuesday morning, and plied routes to Salcedo Village and Legazpi Village from the Landmark Mall.

Judge blocks Jennifer Lopez sex video

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles judge on Monday issued a temporary order barring the first husband of Jennifer Lopez from distributing intimate home videos of the couple as part of an upcoming movie.  According to court papers filed on behalf of Lopez on Friday, the singer-actress's ex-husband Ojani Noa is attempting to find a buyer for a film which includes steamy home video of the couple's honeymoon.

Mike Ditka  - "If God had wanted man to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms."

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